Are you ready for some knowledge bombs?
The other day on Reddit there was a very poignant response to a post about how women feel when men cat call or say overly sexual things out of the blue. Here’s the full post verbatim, and I think it makes some great insights in how women view the world, and how to start a conversation with a women you don’t know.
Sit back – this is gonna be long.
You have to understand – this isn’t just mindless fear coming from nowhere. This isn’t media-driven. This fear comes from a million interactions with men over a lifetime – men who go too far and feel that it’s ok to touch/grope and otherwise threaten you (and of course, rape, at the far end of the spectrum).
This starts early – bra snapping, for instance. I’m not saying it’s sexual assault for a young guy to snap a young girl’s bra, but it’s intrusive, unwanted, humiliating and painful. Somehow, these boys think it’s ok or even funny to do this. It’s objectifying and implies that these boys think a girl’s body/underwear are his to do with as he pleases.
I remember in 8th grade Flashdance was a huge movie (yes, I’m old). I was wearing – as a lot of girls were – a sweatshirt that was cut out at the neck, so one shoulder was exposed (like the lead character in the movie). I didn’t think anything of how I looked, I just wanted to wear a Flashdance sweatshirt. That day, a boy I had never spoken to sneered at me and said “You’re just wearing that so everyone looks at your boobs.” He was angry. I have never been so humiliated before or since. I was 12 and I had no concept that someone might be looking at my breasts, or that someone would wear a shirt just to make that happen.
The thing that burned that interaction on my brain though, and makes it a propos, was his anger about it. Like I was trying to fuck with him. It’s the same anger that comes through loud and clear when some guy yells “Hey, nice tits.”
In Jr. high/high school we all start to learn about the unexpected grope. About the guy who slips his hand on your chair so you sit on it, then laughs with all his friends. About the hard pinch on your ass in the hallway, or the straight up grab both your breasts move. Again, mocking, angry laughter with the guy’s friends usually accompanies these things.
Are you starting to get the picture?
High school is usually also when men (often much older men) start to drive very slowly next to us, trying to “talk” to us and get us in the car.
There are so many many more examples. Guys grinding on you in the club. Guys jerking off next to you on the bus, guys cornering you on the street. Guys and their friends forming a circle around you and you barely escape.
Here’s another good one from my own memory banks. I was a senior in high school and went to a college party with a friend. We were both gothy girls and my friend called herself a “witch.” One of the guys at the party asked her about the pentagram she was wearing, she told him she was a witch, and he started to get really belligerent. His friends joined in, taunting us both and saying we were devil worshipers. Then shit got scary – he and his friend picked up pool cues and said they were going to shove them so far up us they’d get the devil out. They tried to grab us, we shoved past them and ran.
Are you starting to understand why strange men talking to you on the street is so threatening?
I’ve had guys follow me home from work. There was one guy who lived at a halfway house at the end of my block who used to wait for me to get off the bus so he could leer at me and say all sorts of disgusting shit.
Thankfully, most of this has stopped now that I’m a mom and middle aged – that makes me pretty much invisible to men (it’s actually kind of funny how invisible I am now!) But — as recently as 2 years ago when I was 7 months pregnant there were guys who would yell shit at me.
Oh, and I’m just an average-looking woman.
All this to say – there’s a long history for most women of harassment, straight up assault, possibly rape that has us all in a constant state of alert. So, keep that in mind if you want to meet a girl you see on the street.
Don’t act threatening. Don’t follow her. If she seems freaked out, stop trying to talk to her. Your best bet is NOT to compliment her on her appearance. Strike up a conversation about something else. Say something funny. Talk about the weather. Comment on what’s in her shopping cart. ANYTHING but her appearance (that includes asking about tattoos, piercings, etc). That’s just a giant red flag. And then, if she seems friendly, keep talking for a bit – like a friendly person, not someone who wants to get laid. And then – give her your number and ask if she’d like to get coffee sometime.
There is NO REASON for a man to talk to a woman about her appearance if he doesn’t know her. It’s intrusive, even if it’s just “you look nice today.” Why can’t you just think that, and keep it to yourself? Why do you feel the need to make her know that you think she’s attractive? That’s all about your wants and your needs and nothing at all to do with her.
So again I say, if you want to talk to a woman you’ve never met, talk about anything else but what she looks like.
I’ve had a long-standing theory that women, even average looking women, experience a fundamentally different social experience than men. Most guys have little-no game when it comes to talking to women, and as such are supplicative, needy, pushy, and sometimes aggressive in some attempt to get a women to like them.
This all leads to two different types of social experience that most men simply can’t fathom, because its so far out of their normal experience with things. They simply don’t understand how many times a day the average girl is hit on, bought things, and generally viewed as a sexual object. Judging from the many women I’ve talked to about this over the years, it happens several times a day, every day. Combined with the fact most men take for granted that they’re 1.5-2.5 times the size and weight of your average girl, and all of a sudden you start having incidents like the ones described above.
And THEN there’s this whole cycle where some guy doing some combination of the aforementioned actions gets rejected by a girl he’s interested in, and he starts to generalize that feeling of rejection to other women. Pretty soon you’re deep into a vicious cycle of misunderstanding and sexual frustration that leads to more insecure behavior on the part of men everywhere, which they then project onto the women they meet.
As the saying goes, “hurt people hurt people.”
Anyways, as I read it there are a few takeaways here:
- SMILE. When you approach a woman you might seem a lot more threatening than you think. As a guy with solid inner game, there’s nothing wrong with showing a woman you just met that you’re sexually attracted to her- in fact, I’d argue you need to show some sexual attraction from the start. However you need warm and friendly body language to make her feel comfortable and not-threatened.
- Women get a lot more attention (especially sexual attention) than most men think. You need to set yourself apart from the masses by a) strategically withholding attention and NOT being that supplicative, needy guy or b) give her attention in a unique way that she’s never seen before. As legendary entrepreneur Seth Godin says- “Be remarkable.”
- I disagree that you shouldn’t compliment a woman on her looks. I do it all the time, but in a quirky, nonthreatening way. I like to make random jokes like “you look really cute in those shoes… I almost bought the EXACT SAME pair last week!” or “you have beautiful eyes… can I touch them?” This is kind of like classic-push/pull where you reel a girl in with a compliment and diffuse the tension with the random joke or follow up. The point here is you must actually release the tension otherwise she’ll be creeped out.
I’d love to get your guys’ thoughts on this and if there are any women reading PLEASE share your experience in the comments. The whole point of this blog is to help guys understand male/female relationships, and a feminine perspective would be greatly appreciated.